Injury Ravaged Steam Net Pair of Wins in Three Game Week


Photo: Chris Swan

The injury bug is a normal, every season occurrence for most junior hockey teams, and it’s bitten the Summerland Steam early in their Kootenay International Junior Hockey League Season. The team finds themselves battling for wins as they near the quarter mark of their season with some of their top players wearing suits in the stands.

With just 14 skaters and 8 forwards last Sunday against Beaver Valley, they led 3-2 deep into the third period before giving up three goals and losing 5-3. They weren’t allowed much rest, either, as this week began with a Tuesday evening contest with the Princeton Posse at the Summerland Arena.

Again, with just 14 skaters and 8 forwards, the Steam were able to come up with a gutsy 3-2 win over the Posse thanks to 49 saves from Eric Scherger. He was awarded first star honours in a game where he saw a ton of rubber, mostly from the perimeter. Cody Swan and Tyson Conroy scored for the Steam, and Morey Babakaiff notched the game winner on a third period power play to give the Steam the victory.

They would follow up their Tuesday night victory with a home and home on the weekend against the North Okanagan Knights. The Steam got Mitch Gove back on Friday night, as well as seeing the return of Ethan Grover from the MJHL’s Neepawa Natives. Cody Swan (5) opened the scoring for the Steam, but a tying goal from Cade Enns late in the first period had the teams tied after a frame. After no scoring in the second period, North Okanagan Captain Cole Haberlack broke the tie in the third to give the Knights a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Cade Enns scored his second of the game just under two minutes later to extend the lead for the Knights, who would win 3-1 on the back of 37 saves from goaltender Sean Kanervisto.

Summerland would get their revenge one night later, picking up a 5-1 victory on home ice. Cory Loring (3,4) led the way with a pair of goals and Cody Swan (6) had a goal and a pair of assists in the game, while Morey Babakaiff and Josh Bourchier (1, first KIJHL Goal) also tallied. The Steam dominated most of the night, leading 2-0 and 3-0 at period breaks. They built a 5-0 lead before Adam Volansky scored for the Knights to break Eric Scherger’s shutout bid with 3:13 to play.

After a busy last couple of weeks where they played five times in nine days from October 4-12, the Steam get right back to it with three game Kootenay road swing this weekend. They’ll roll through Fernie, Kimberley and Creston Valley on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday respectively, and seem to still be waiting on some healthy bodies to return.

Working their way over to the East Kootenay and playing in buildings like Fernie and Kimberley, it’s going to be important for the Steam to try and get on the board early, not give up the early goal, and get settled into some hostile environments they may not be used to playing in. Both buildings expect upwards of 750 fans in house on any given game night, and the Steam will have to count on the experience of their veteran players to guide them through some uncharted territory.

Keep an eye on Trolley Talk for a preview of these three games coming sometime on Wednesday.


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